The Chicago Bears finished 7-10 in the 2023-24 season, dead last (again) in the NFC North. There was a chance at making the playoffs for the Bears, though - all the way up to Week 17. But ultimately, the ending was as disappointing as emotionally possible : a 10th straight loss to the rival Green Bay Packers that catapulted them into the playoffs.
As the offseason begins, there are more questions than answers about the future of the league's charter franchise moving forward. The biggest arguably being what to do with the number one overall pick in the NFL Draft for the second year in a row. These answers and actions will create a domino effect that will ultimately determine their future path and success for, possibly, the next 5-10 years.
While all that is true, it is important to reflect on the season that was. Sure, to bookend your year with losses to the Packers is not ideal, nor fun. But some of the things in between can be built on for the future.
The Bears more than doubled their win total from the 2022-23 season. The defense made major strides towards become a respected unit throughout the league. And some individual performances stood out and are being nationally recognized.
Even through yet another frustrating year, some positive recognition is due to some individuals who had a positive impact to the Bears, and the league, in 2023-24. Here are 3 players who made some history this season.
Montez Sweat Enters the Record Books
At the trade deadline, the Bears made a move to acquire defensive lineman Montez Sweat from the Washington Commanders. In addition to trading for Sweat, they also immediately signed him to a long-term extension.
He was a dominant force with the Commanders and brought the same to the Bears after the move. And after what the Bears saw in just one half of a season, it's safe to say that his performance is leading them to not regret that decision.
Sweat became the first player in NFL history to lead two different teams in sacks during the same regular season. He had 6.5 sacks with Washington before the trade and another 6.0 with Chicago thereafter. Sweat also earned himself a selection to the Pro Bowl after his remarkable season.
There is a lot you won't see on the stat sheet that Sweat impacts, both on and off the field. He forces the offensive line to pay attention to him more than the average defender, which opens the door for other players in other positions to make the plays. Additionally, he is adored and well respected in the locker room.
He has been a wonderful addition for the morale of the Bears, and it was smart of them to lock him up for an extended time here.